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Nat Mater. 2006 Jul;5(7):567-73. Epub 2006 Jun 18.

High rate capabilities Fe3O4-based Cu nano-architectured electrodes for lithium-ion battery applications.

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CIRIMAT-UMR 5085-Université Paul Sabatier, route de Narbonne, 31062 Toulouse Cedex 4, France.


All battery technologies are known to suffer from kinetic problems linked to the solid-state diffusion of Li in intercalation electrodes, the conductivity of the electrolyte in some cases and the quality of interfaces. For Li-ion technology the latter effect is especially acute when conversion rather than intercalation electrodes are used. Nano-architectured electrodes are usually suggested to enhance kinetics, although their realization is cumbersome. To tackle this issue for the conversion electrode material Fe3O4, we have used a two-step electrode design consisting of the electrochemically assisted template growth of Cu nanorods onto a current collector followed by electrochemical plating of Fe3O4. Using such electrodes, we demonstrate a factor of six improvement in power density over planar electrodes while maintaining the same total discharge time. The capacity at the 8C rate was 80% of the total capacity and was sustained over 100 cycles. The origin of the large hysteresis between charge and discharge, intrinsic to conversion reactions, is discussed and approaches to reduce it are proposed. We hope that such findings will help pave the way for the use of conversion reaction electrodes in future-generation Li-ion batteries.

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